Hay fever and a spoonful of science

A chara, – I am pleased to hear of the resolution of Pascal Ó Deasmhumhnaigh's hay fever symptoms over the last decade, attributed to the effectiveness of local honey (June 20th).

Local honey has no evidence, other than mere anecdote, to support its use in managing hay fever.

I would like to point out that hay fever is caused by grass pollen. This pollen is airborne and has little to do with bees. Honey does indeed contain pollen, but it is flower pollen, allergy to which is vanishingly rare in Ireland.

Those of us that like a spoonful of science to supplement our healthcare may wish to consider the wealth of safe, highly effective, evidence-based approaches for the management of hay fever, including sublingual grass-pollen desensitisation.


Unfortunately, the scandalous lack of training in the diagnosis of allergic diseases in Ireland and the scarcity of trained immunologists and allergists result in a failure to deliver these very effective treatments when they are most needed. This is not true of most other European countries.

Despite this paucity of services, we must resist the temptation to follow fashion and dismiss the requirement for high-quality evidence to guide the selection of remedies for important ailments. – Is mise,


Consultant Immunologist,


Dublin 15.